Spring 2010 Karbank Symposium in Environmental Philosophy

Weighing Moral Demands for Environmental Protection, Ecosystem Management, and Poverty Eradication

The Karbank Symposium, an annual lecture series, offers a forum for discussing issues in environmental philosophy broadly construed. Topics range from biodiversity, transgenic respeciation and global warming to nature aesthetics. The colloquia are designed to provide a forum for distinguished philosophers of various backgrounds to address their work to a broad audience. The Symposium is named in honor of Steven Karbank, a generous benefactor of the Boston University Department of Philosophy and major sponsor of the series.

April 22, 2010, 2 pm – 6 pm
Barrister’s Hall, The Law School
Boston University

Moderated by Professor Daniel Star (Boston University)

2:00-3:00 Professor Ronald Sandler (Northeastern University) on:

“Climate Change, Ecosystem Management, and Ecological Virtue”

3:00-3:10 Commentary by Irena G. Meketa (Boston University)

3:10-3:40 Discussion

3:40-4:00 Coffee break

4:00-5:00 Professor Thomas Pogge (Yale University) on:

“Environmental Protection and Poverty Eradication: Competing Imperatives?”

5:00-5:10 Commentary by Ben Sherman (Boston University

5:10-5:40 Discussion

5:40-6:00 Roundtable

Abstracts of Papers

Abstract of Professor Ronald Sandler’s paper: “Climate Change, Ecosystem Management, and Ecological Virtue”

Anthropogenic global climate change is now part of the ecological present and future of the planet. It needs to inform our ecological practices and ethics as an ecological reality, not just as something to be avoided, resisted, feared, and lamented. This talk explores the implication of global climate change for the goals, practices and norms of ecosystem management. The focus is on two practices in particular: ecological restoration (the practice of assisting in the recovery of a degraded place or system) and assisted colonization (the practice of intentionally moving species beyond their current range in order to prevent their extinction). Critical evaluation of these practices under conditions of rapid ecological change suggests that restraint and reconciliation are crucial for responding well to the challenges and losses associated with global climate change.

Abstract of Professor Thomas Pogge’s paper: “Environmental Protection and Poverty Eradication: Competing Imperatives?”

Many believe that global poverty reduction would interfere with efforts to reduce pollution and resource depletion: If we fight poverty worldwide, then people who otherwise would have died will survive and consume, and people who otherwise would have consumed very little will consume more. What truth is there in the thought that we must balance the moral claims of the present poor against the moral claims of future generations? And what moral grounds do we have on which to formulate sound moral priorities?